Student’s ‘Rape Culture’ Artwork Banned from School Show

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A South Carolina high school student’s piece of art was banned from a school show for being ‘inappropriate’.

Gracie Holtzclaw, 18, a senior at Blue Ridge High School in Greenville, created the masterpiece entitled ‘Rape Culture’. It features a topless woman with tattoos and a black censorship bar covering her breasts.

Gracie said that her art teacher had encouraged her to go beyond “pretty pictures” for the upcoming exhibit.

So she went to one of the darkest periods of her life. When she was attending a Christian school and was sexually assaulted.

Gracie tells WYFF-Greenville, “I started at an early age at a Christian school, locally, and we were always taught that it was our responsibility as women to cover up and be modest, and if a man was to ever get aroused or turned on or be interested in us, it was our fault.”

“I know I’m not the only girl in high school that’s been sexually assaulted and felt like it was my fault, so I wanted to get the word out there and tell people, ‘It’s not your fault. It’s not your fault.”

Gracie’s art teacher selected her piece for the exhibit in part because of the story behind it. But two days before the show, the district pulled it.

In a statement, a district spokesperson wrote: “This piece, for both title and content, was determined to be inappropriate for the District Showcase because the artwork is on display during a community event and can be viewed by small children.”

Needless to say Gracie is disappointed. And I don’t blame her. I personally think, the district should not have pulled her ‘Rape Culture’ piece. Here is an 18-year-old girl, who had the courage to recognize and admit she had been sexually assaulted, for all to see in this piece of art. Not only was this piece empowering its powerful, emotionally jarring and thought provoking. Isn’t that what art is supposed to do?

I hate to break it to ya down in Greenville, but not everything is sunshine and roses. Experiences in life don’t always paint a pretty picture but that doesn’t mean that that picture doesn’t have a right to be seen.

And that’s today’s helping of The Online Dish with Maggie.



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